Why the NFL Draft Judges’ Microscope Might Not Tell the Whole David Bell Story – The Athletic

INDIANAPOLIS — On the notoriously tight sideline at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa, Purdue wide receiver David Bell shook hands, took photos and exchanged hugs after the Boilermakers defeated then-No. 2 Iowa last fall.

Bell was Purdue’s offensive catalyst against a defense that ultimately led the nation in interceptions. That afternoon in mid-October, Bell caught 11 passes for 240 yards and a score, and made a pass interference call on a crucial third-down play. His production was nothing new against Iowa; In three games, he finished with 37 catches for 558 yards and five touchdowns. The previous career best by a receiver against Iowa was 420 yards.

Just as Bell turned to his locker room, an Iowa fan in the stands yelled at Bell. Since the seats are only seven meters from the playing surface, opposing players are often taken out of the game by taunting them. Instead, the taunts seemed to electrify Bell. Instead of yelling something negative, this time the fan held out his right hand.

“David, great game,” he said, which was caught by Big Ten Network. “Go to the NFL as an Iowa fan, would you please? YOU’RE WELCOME!?”

Bell (6-1, 212 pounds) shook the fan’s hand and said, “I’ll have to see.” At the end of the season, the Indianapolis native celebrated the day after securing consensus First-Team All-American honors of Iowa fans by declaring himself a candidate for the NFL Draft. Bell was named the league’s receiver of the year, which was no small feat as he played with Ohio State’s trio of Garrett Wilson, Chris Olave and Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Penn State’s Jahan Dotson and 2020 winner, Indiana’s Ty Fryfogle , competed. Bell was also a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award for the nation’s top receiver, and his Big Ten stats topped his contemporaries. Why the NFL Draft Judges’ Microscope Might Not Tell the Whole David Bell Story – The Athletic

Olly Dawes

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